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Visit Votchina, the Russian Santa's Estate

24. December 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

The Russian Santa Claus, known as Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost, resides in the beautiful forested town of Veliky Ustyug, 600 miles northeast of Moscow. While the estate is an important part of Russian culture, it also provides income for the entire village, as most all of its residents are employed there.


The estate is called “Votchina” and is comprised of several beautifully constructed buildings. In the center is the mansion where Ded Moroz lives. His bedroom, complete with giant bed and fluffy slippers, is located on the first floor, while his workshop is upstairs. Children and adults are instructed how to make their very own souvenirs, such as birch bark ornaments and traditional rag dolls.


Next door is Santa’s Post Office, where millions of letters require extra staff members during the peak Christmas season. Visitors can also explore the Path of Fairy Tales and meet some famous characters of Russian folklore. Employees dress as Baba Yaga and others to welcome guests and later invite them inside to enjoy warm Russian tea.


Ded Moroz receives nearly 4,000 visitors each day, even though the small remote village is quite a trek from Moscow. He gathers children beneath the New Year tree, shares Christmas stories, and then surprises them with boxes of gingerbread. Adults also enjoy the whimsical atmosphere and educational tours.






Photos: Phoebe Taplin, Russia Beyond the Headlines